Respected environmental activists unfairly charged with criminal damage

“Gazaryan, a zoologist and member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Vitishko, a geologist, are members of Environmental Watch of the North Caucasus. Gazaryan is known for his outspoken criticism of the Russian authorities on a number of issues, including the construction of a highway through the Khimki forest near Moscow and environmental concerns in Sochi connected to the preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
On November 13, 2011, Gazaryan, Vitishko, and other activists held a rally in Tuapse, calling for the protection of the Black Sea coast and the nearby forest. As part of the rally, the activists headed into the territory of the state forest fund, which, under Russian law, is open to the public. Inside the forest they discovered a fence surrounding a construction site.”

They moved a small part of the fence in order to enter the public park, and admitted having done so to the authorities. They didn’t cause any damage by their own testimony, but they were both given excessive criminal charges. It is believed that because they are outspoken activists that the authorities charged them excessively to shut them up…

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